While on an annual pilgrimage to India four-and-a-half years ago, Kim Manfredi, the owner of Charm City Yoga, received a cryptic call from her husband, Chris. “He said, ‘I have something to show you when you get back,’” she recalls. That something turned out to be a two-bedroom apartment at Silo Point with 360-degree views of the city. “When I walked into this unit, I was like, ‘I can do this,’” Manfredi says of the Locust Point digs. “From here, you can see almost the entire city. I can see the sunrise from the bedroom and the sunset from the dining room—living here is like being outside.”
And while Manfredi enjoys every aspect of the apartment, from the neutral tones to a collection of Buddhas acquired from her world travels, the state-of-the-art kitchen overlooking the Key Bridge and Under Armour campus is the biggest draw. “I’m Italian on both sides,” says Manfredi. “Cooking is part of who I am.”
With food and family at the fore, Manfredi, who lived in Homeland prior, says, “I never thought of not cooking. Even when there was nothing else, you could always make pasta with olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and parsley, and everything was sautéed in olive oil and garlic.” Though cooking has always come naturally, Manfredi changed her approach to nutrition after starting yoga. “Cooking is integral to my life,” she says. “But being a yogi has made me aware of eating as a conscious process.”
It was a catastrophic accident that led Manfredi to yoga. “On July 4, after my freshman year at University of Maryland, I fell out of a third-story window,” she recalls. “I had broken my back and, when I hit the ground, I was aware that I had the choice to live or to die. I spent 30 days at Shock Trauma.” In a hospital bed with four broken vertebrae and a total of seven fused together along two titanium rods, Manfredi wasn’t sure she would ever walk again. To cope with her partial paralysis, she learned to meditate. “It was unbelievably healing,” she remembers. At the time of the accident, Manfredi was pursuing an engineering degree. After it, she dropped out of Maryland and pursued painting at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). “I had been trying to be my dad,” admits Manfredi. “I realized that I could be my own person. I call the accident ‘the portal to the rest of my life.’”
These days, free rein also rules in the yogi’s kitchen. Most nights, Manfredi, who follows a mostly vegetarian diet, concocts vegetable-centric meals. “I cook every kind of vegetable,” she says. “I sauté green beans or asparagus, depending on what’s in season. I love roasting big pans of sweet potatoes and squash if it’s winter. In summer, I make them into cold soups.”
This recipe for whole-wheat pasta is a favorite. “I use pasta like a condiment,” explains Manfredi. “Veggies are the focus. They are dense in nutrients and a low-calorie goodness—full of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E, and K. Basically, they are health in a bright green coat.”
Recipe: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Lemon Zest
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Crushed red hot pepper
- or Sriracha, to taste
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 4-ounce jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
- 1-2 bunches of asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1½ cups of cooked
- whole-wheat pasta
- Sea salt to taste
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Optional: Parmigiano-Reggiano
In a hot pan, sauté the olive oil, hot pepper, and garlic to add flavor to oil. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Add sun-dried tomatoes. Cook on high until they begin to caramelize a bit.
Add asparagus to pan and, depending on thickness, cook for 1 to 5 minutes, moving them in the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook quickly. To retain bright green color and crispness, do not cover.
When the asparagus is cooked, add cooked pasta to pan, mixing well for 1 minute. Top with zest of 1 lemon. Serves 2.
Tip: Make sure the pasta is a bit undercooked; the heat of the sauce will continue to cook the grain.